Credit: Mount Zion General Assembly

A South African pastor, Lethebo Rabalago of the Mount Zion General Assembly (MZGA) is reportedly spraying his congregants with pesticide to heal them, CNN reports.  He sprays them in the face, on the feet or anywhere the person needs healing.

This has drawn shock and outrage all over Africa but it is not the only case.  According to the BBC, all over the continent are signs advertising churches promising cures for every illness under the sun.  Charismatic pastors set up these churches instead of joining established ones.  Plus, they boast to have miraculous powers.

But here is the “catch”.  None of this is for free.  Persons are required to “plant a seed” by paying for the pastors’ services and these pastors use all kind of outrageous healing rituals.

One of the more extreme cases involves Ghanaian pastor, Bishop Daniel Obinim of International Godsway Ministries.  According to the BBC, in one case he stepped on the abdomen of a supposedly pregnant women claiming to exorcise demons from her.

In another case he was seen grabbing men’s crotches to cure them of erectile dysfunction and there was a line!  He also flogged a young couple with a belt for extra-marital sex.  The woman was retrained by the pastor’s aides and all of this was in front of a silent consenting congregation.

I strongly condemn these ‘leaders’ as greedy and evil.  They exploit the vulnerable people who are so desperate that they will do anything to get help, even if it could endanger their lives.  But, one cannot simply ignore the culture in these countries.

Over time, numerous churches have been established.  African culture has a close relationship with spirituality and in the case of a so-called prophet, his or her word is as good as scripture.

But I wonder, when is enough, enough?  It cannot be argued that these persons are always being forced to participate.  I bet the preachers would say the persons could leave if they wanted to.  This is true but the spiritual leader must take responsibility.

In life, there is one sure way to know when you are being hoodwinked: the involvement of money (always a dead giveaway).

While these pastors may depend on the contributions of the church to support themselves, they should never take advantage of congregants.  That would be very abusive.  Even Paul the apostle did fishing to provide for himself.  He also spoke about presenting the gospel FREELY as seen in this verse:

“Nevertheless, we have not made use of this right, but we endure anything rather than put an obstacle in the way of the gospel of Christ . . . I have made no use of any of these rights, nor am I writing these things to secure any such provision . . . What then is my reward? That in my preaching I may present the gospel free of charge, so as not to make full use of my right in the gospel” (1 Cor. 9:15–18).

I can also recall an even in Acts 8:18 where the apostle Peter condemned a man who had wanted to buy the power of the Holy Spirit.  He was rebuked for this.

But whether it is in the pews or public society, this issue of scamming is real.  Jamaica is already infamous for its reputed scamming industry which continues to rob persons at home and abroad of their money.  It is morally and ethically corrupt, no matter where it happens.

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